The Bats and Bulls offenses were held quiet most of the game as Louisville starting pitcher Matt Maloney and Durham starter David Price were on the top of their games. Maloney had not allowed a hit and only two men had reached base through the first 4.2 innings, but he ran into trouble in the top of the fifth.
After retiring Joel Guzman and Chris Nowak to start the inning, Maloney looked like he was on cruise control. Durham second baseman Elliot Johnson was finally able to crack the armor as he took Maloney's 3-2 pitch just over the left field wall, giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead.
As impressive as Maloney was to start the game, Price was equally as good. The first overall pick in last year's Major League draft was able to get out of some tough situations and held the Bats scoreless. In the first, he gave up a leadoff double to Danny Richar, but pitched his way out of trouble by striking out Kevin Barker and Alvin Colina to end the inning.
In the third, the Bats had another golden opportunity when Paul Janish and Richar both singled with no outs. Price once again used the strikeout to get out of the jam, by retiring Drew Stubbs and Adam Rosales with back-to-back K's and then inducing Kevin Barker to pop out to end the inning.
In the sixth inning the Bats had their best chance to crack the scoreboard when Alvin Colina laced a lead off triple against Bulls reliever Jeremy Cummings. With Colina still on third and one out, Griffin was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. The very next batter Luis Bolivar was then struck in the helmet with a Cummings pitch, loading the bases with one out and causing a stir in the stadium. Janish followed Bolivar with a ground ball to shortstop, who went home to force out Colina. Colina collided with Bulls catcher Josh Johnson causing Johnson to leave the game. Both benches were warned after the incident. Richar grounded out to end the inning, stranding all three base runners. The Bats left 12 men on base for the game.
The high tensions seemed to fuel the Bulls offense the next inning. In the top of the seventh, Dan Johnson and Chris Richard launched back-to-back home runs to start the inning making the score its final of 3-0. The home runs spelled the end of the night for Maloney (0-1 4.50) who was hit with the loss. He pitched six solid innings, giving up four hits, and three earned runs. He also walked two and struck out four.
Price (1-0 0.00) earned his first post-season win, pitching five shutout innings, and giving up only three hits. He also struck out six and walked three. Scott Dohman came in to pitch a flawless ninth to earn the save.
The Bats and Bulls will get together tomorrow night for game two of the best-of-five series. RHP Homer Bailey (4-7, 4.77)) will get the start for the Bats against Bulls RHP Mitch Talbot (13-9, 3.86). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field with plenty of great tickets still available.